“This to me is just the beginning,” says the first Tennessee Valley doctor injected with COVID-19 vaccine

First person in the Tennessee Valley receives the COVID-19 vaccine

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It was a historic day across north Alabama, including Limestone County.

That’s where some of the state’s first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine were administered to health care workers today.

Doctors and nurses who I talked to earlier today tell me it’s one of the first signs of relief they’ve seen in months, and they’re excited a vaccine is finally here.

”This to me is the beginning of it,” said Dr. Matt Hanserd.

Athens-Limestone Hospital’s Chief COVID Emergency Response Doctor, Matt Hanserd, says he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hanserd was the first person in the Valley to get the vaccine Tuesday, however he says it can’t stop at health care workers.

“The people in the community are going to have to take it at very high rates to eliminate this disease as something that’s happening all the time, and especially the rates it’s happening at right now,” said Hanserd.

Hospital Interim President Traci Collins says the hospital received more than 1,900 vaccines this week and anticipate more to come in by the hundreds, weekly.

She too emphasized that this vaccine is not the end all, be all.

“With this vaccine, it’s not going to fix the problem overnight. The more people that are vaccinated, the sooner we can knock this out.,” said Collins.

Collins says her hospital staff is urging people to get this vaccine and they want to reassure the public that this could be a saving grace to slow down this pandemic.

“Seeing that they’re willing to get it and they’re the first ones in line, it gives me comfort. These guys are smart. They study science, they study research, and if they think it’s safe for them they’re not going to do anything to jeopardize themselves that would be detrimental to them. I honestly trust them with my life.,” Collins explained.

The hospital also has a mobile medical unit that will be administering vaccines to other hospitals in the valley who don’t have the storage capabilities.

Staff will be heading to Decatur-Morgan Hospital tomorrow morning, and we’ll be there when it happens.

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